UGCC Patriarch outlines two major tasks of the strategic UGCC Patriarchal Council
The UGCC Council entitled “Vibrant Parish as a place to meet the living Christ,” which has started its work today in Ivano-Frankivsk, has brought together 250 delegates from 57 countries. The Council is chaired by Head of the UGCC Patriarch Sviatoslav.
The Council began with the Liturgy in the Patriarchal Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ in Kyiv, where Patriarch SviatoslavShevchuk greeted the delegates and read the Council’s official decree.
“The Council is an extremely important moment, it enables to see the unity of our Church in the fullness of its diversity, because here the fullness of the church body is presented, and lay people are the important participants, who convey the voice of God's people from all over the world,” Patriarch SviatoslavShevchuk said in his speech at the first plenary meeting.
Head of the UGCC made a retrospective journey into the history, when the idea to elaborate a development strategy of UGCC was conceived. This idea dates back to 2011. “This strategy appeared due to the wisdom of my predecessor, Patriarch Lubomyr (Husar). It was him who asked the question: What do we want to see in the UGCC in 10 years, in 2020?
It all started with the visionary bishops, who set a task to analyze the current state of the Church and envisage its image in 2020. In the follow-up the team was formed, the strategy became no longer a theory and the parish as the primary cell of the parish church was chosen as a focus.
“Wherever our parish may be located - in North or South America, Australia, Europe, Ukraine or the Far East, whatever it is like - large or small – it must be a vibrant parish,” said the patriarch. Thus the title of the current Patriarchal Council originated.
He added that the current state of the war brought about changes, but did not change its focus. According to Head of Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, today the Church needs more than ever to respond flexibly to the challenges of our time. Back in 2011, no one could imagine that the place of encounter with God may also be the Maidan in Kyiv or the frontline in Donbas. “The Kyivan Maidanexcited all our faithful throughout the world. Our communities have become the volunteer centers now. I want us to examine our conscience in the context of this Council: to what extent our Church is living to move forward,” the Head of Church appeals.
Patriarch Sviatoslav outlined this Council’s objectives and expectations from it:
1. All the Council participants should tell only the truth about the real life of the Church.
2. All participants must hear each other. There should be an active exchange of successes and failures. The Council’s resolutions should not remain only on paper, but should be implemented. All the debate of the Council and then the follow-up decision adopted by the Synod of Bishops (which will take place after the conciliar sessions) led to qualitative changes in dioceses and parishes of the UGCC.
Head of the UGCC congratulated individually Archbishop Ihor (Isichenko), Head of the Kharkiv-Poltava Eparchy of UAOC (Renewed), who attended the Patriarchal Council of the UGCC. According to Patriarch Sviatoslav, for the first time in the history of the UGCC the delegates from the Orthodox Church attend the Council.